The world is ‘way off track’ to meet the 1.5 or 2 degrees of warming targets that were set out in the Paris Agreement, according to a report published yesterday (March 10) by the United Nations (UN).
The report, which is led by the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO), outlines how climate change is already having a major effect on all aspects of the environment.
The report confirms that 2019 was the second warmest year on record and that 2010-2019 was the hottest decade on record.
According to the report, since the 1980s, each successive decade has been warmer than any preceding decade since 1850.
Australia’s 2018 – 2019 summer broke records for being the hottest year on record, reaching a peak of 41.9 degrees on December 18.
Petteri Tallas, secretary-general of the WMO said: ‘Given that greenhouse gas levels continue to increase, the warming will continue, a recent decadal forecast indicates that a new annual global temperature record is likely in the next five years. It is a matter of time.’
The report then continues to outline the effect that this warming has had on the environment, with warming temperatures already leading to further ocean heat and acidification.
Between 2002 – 2016, the Greenland ice sheet lost 260 Gigatonnes of ice per year, in 2019, it lost 329 Gigatonnes, this was well above average.
Climate change is already having a noticeable effect on the global population, with record high temperatures leading to over 1,400 deaths in France.
Extreme weather events also took part in many parts of the world at an ‘unprecedented scale’, in the U.S, total economic losses from flooding were estimated at around $20bn, while at the same time other regions suffered from a severe lack of water, with Australia suffering from the driest year on record.
In response to the findings outlined in this report, UN chief António Guterres outlined our priorities for COP26, he stated that we need more ambitious national climate plans to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees, we need further strategies to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, a comprehensive programme of support for climate adaptation and resilience, and financing for a sustainable, green economy.
Mr Guterres said: ‘We have to aim high at the next climate conference in Glasgow in November.’
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